He took the helm, writing his first feature- “Mutation” in 1999 and hasn’t looked back since! Known across the horror genre as an Energizer bunny filmmaker, he has directed 23 films within the past decade. The awesome part about that- he writes most of his own stories as well! “MemorieZ” is his next slated production, which began shooting in July of 2013, and is set for a 2014 release. The film centers around a female former martial arts champion who is a survivor of a living zombie apocalypse who must fight for survival, and Rose lets us in on some of the film’s secrets in our conversation.
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KW: So let’s talk about your film history- how did you get into film and what films inspired you?
TR: I have watched films every day since I was a little boy. When I was 6 years old I would wait til my parents went to bed and then..BAM…I would turn the TV on and watch movies like "Poltergeist" or "Jaws" and of course I would shit my pants (laughing). That was the beginning. With the age of 8 or 9 years I grabbed my dad’s old and heavy vhs camcorder, and I shot my first short films. I guess that changed my direction haha… Later I watched movies like “Evil Dead”, “Dirty Harry” and so on and so on. When I was 9 I built my own "Jaws" -a shark out of paper and wood…and it was 3 meters long! haha… The medium of "film" was my jumping off point and every movie I liked also served as inspiration. I shot my first "feature-length-movie" with the age of 15 or 16, and I won’t stop til i die !
KW: What is it about horror that you like so much?
TR: You know, it’s horror because you can entertain the people on the one side, and on the other side you can make’em scream or cry. Horror is a great genre with a great audience worldwide. It’s entertaining. It’s like a trip into another world like sci-fi movies. I mean I really like every genre because I love film. But if you do horror you can combine genres. Before you do a movie you have to know what you want. If you wanna make a funny movie combine the horror with some funny characters and jokes. If you wanna scare and shock the audience do it the other way and don’t show silly characters ‘nor trashy moments etc. but you can combine so many other genres with horror like comedy, action, thriller and so on and so on. but I think at least it’s passion. And i am a horror nerd (haha). Horrordicted :p
KW: I think you may have just created a new addiction! With horror, effects play a heavy role. Do you prefer to work with CGI or Practical?
TR: Practical effects …definitely ! I love hand-made headshots and real "fake" blood splattering around. It is also a different feeling on set if you work with practical effects. It tends to be more fun and more creative. Of course I did CGI in some of my movies but I didn’t like it that much.
KW: Of course! What can you tell me about your current film, "MemorieZ"?
TR:"Memoriez" is a Zombie Film. But it is a drama too. A friend of mine, Giovanni Lombardo Radice from Fulci’s “Gates of Hell” (known in the US as “City of the Living Dead”), will be in Memoriez and has said it is the best script in years. So I think we are on the right way. It is also brutal and bloody and thanks to Ryan Nicholson (sfx Final Destination, Ghost Rider, Supernatural) that he will do the Special Effects – he is an amazing artist ! And we have a great cast like Zara Phythian who was the lead in "The Hike" and she also is one of the best martial artists around the globe in my opinion! After all, she is in the British martial arts hall of fame! We also have the great Ruben Pla who is in James Wan’s “Insidious” and Mike Mendez’s “Big Ass Spider”. He is a great and fantastic actor. To cast the right people was very important to me as it should be for every director for every single movie. We also have Anthony Streager, Rebekka Mueller, Marc Terenzi (former Boygroup member), and Japanese actress Mine Voss and a bunch of other great actresses and actors.
I searched through the internet to find the best cast and I found them finally !
I know that we’ll bring some fresh wind into the zombie genre as well… and yes, our zombies don’t jump and run…we have classic-zombies. Expect the unexpected!!
KW: Being in the international film industry for several years, what do you see for the future of film making, especially in the independent aspect?
TR: Maybe it will be hard, maybe not. Its difficult to tell, but its hard to make an independent movie when Hollywood makes films like "Avengers" or other films with budgets of over 150 million dollars. I think 30% of the audience awaits an explosion of effects if the wanna go to the cinema. They do not see the money and budget behind the films. But I also think that they will have a good time with your movie if it’s a good and entertaining one. Independent cinema will always be a part of the industry and always be a part of film making. Look where we are without independent cinema/ film making?! … See ?! 😀
There are great filmmakers like Mike Mendez, Jim van Bebber, Adam Gierasch, Steven C Miller and many many others and all of them are doing great and amazing work. I personally can’t wait to see Mike’s “Big Ass Spider”! And I just bought "Under the Bed" and I really enjoyed it…or the Soska Sisters (“American Mary”). I know they will do a great job with "See no Evil 2" …
And look: James Wan did Saw and now he will direct "Fast and Furious 7" . The Industry NEEDS some fresh wind ’cause Hollywood is out of ideas , even if they are doing “Avengers 7” or “Batman vs Superman”. If you watch a big budget Hollywood movie starring Liam Neeson or someone else, you can’t remember the characters name after watching it. But if you are watching films like SAW ‘nor other indie-films you won’t forget. Why is this? Think about it and you’ll get your answer 😉 And it’s true…
KW: That is very true, a lot of independent films have some very powerful storylines that stand out more. What have been your favorite onset experiences thus far?
TR: Whoa, that is a hard one (haha) … I have lots of favorite onset experiences. I think it was in 2003 or 2002… We were shooting at a local supermarket and didn’t have permission to be shooting there exactly. So we dressed our "creatures" and "mutants" , we did the make up in the cars, and then: we did it. People were screaming. It was Saturday , i think 3 pm, and there were hundreds of people…and our zombies of course. Later the police came and we jumped into the cars and "swoosh" gone with the wind baby, haha… but we got great shots haha… that’s guerilla film making.
But other great onset experiences are always with the great actresses and actors who did great performances. If an actress or an actor can "catch you" on set while doing the take…that’s the best experience you can have as a director. But there is so much more. We forgot an actor deep in the woods at night and later we asked ourselves: hey, where is he? have you seen him? No i thought he was in your car! No, he wasn’t in my car… so we drove back to find him and we found him, sleeping under a tree with a beer in one hand and a Fangoria in the other hand. I mean, it was dark, ok, very dark (laughing)…
And, maybe i am cursed or something… but every time we are doing a head explosion or shoot outs or shots where hands chopped of or something I get bloody !! I get bloody no matter where I stand, whether its close to the effect or super far away! I guess the fake blood hunts me down every time we do an effect shot. I think I just have that curse (haha)
KW: Hey, that’s a curse I wouldn’t mind having! You have been touted as having completed more films in the German horror film scene than any other German filmmaker. Can you describe your filmmaking process? Do you come up with your ideas on your own or do you have a creative team?
Yes that’s right about the German horror films. I don’t know how my process starts but I really hate to just hanging around. If I have an idea I have to work on it to work it out. I write a script then and I try to raise up some money. I have my visons and of course I am a dreamer, but at first I am an artist and film maker. Most of the ideas are mine. But I also love to work with people like a creative team. It’s fun sitting around and talking about ideas and things and how we could do it.
Ok, to be honest, I do NOT hate to hang around, I also love to play Xbox and watching movies of course (haha) but to be honest, I am a film maker. Thats what I want to do, I wanna make movies.
KW: So with that, my next question is an obvious, but with your films, it has been pointed out that there are several aspects that are from various video games and sci-fi collections. Are you a gamer yourself?
TR: haha Yes! But I don’t think that there are aspects from video games or something. I would say I use "modern" techniques and styles. I love my Xbox and my Playstation, of course, but I don’t think that …or wait… let me think about that again (haha)… i don’t know. please do tell me ! 😀
KW: Ha, we’ll encourage the fans to send you some feedback! What is next for you and your company, Rosecalypse?
TR: Rosecalypse will produce some more trashy films i think. We’ll see.
But now I am working for Scarmantic Pictures to make some "bigger" movies. Rosecalypse is, and will be, that company which produces trashy movies. Scarmantic is for the bigger ones.
I would say Rosecalypse is the son, and Scarmantic Pictures is the grown up version of my visions.
In 2014 i will shoot my version of "Red Riding Hood" for Producer Thomas Goersch. It sounds like a great project. It’s like ABC’s of Death. 9 episodes from 9 directors and every director shoots another version of a Brothers Grimm story, and I am doing Red Riding Hood then. The Project is called "Grimms Kinder / Grimm’s children" and I hope we’ll kick some ass! 😀
KW: We will definitely keep on the lookout for that! What is your advice to future filmmakers looking to kick off an awesome film career?
TR: Listen to the voice of your inner heart and make some great art ! Work on your vision and follow your dreams ! Thats two of the most important things.
Be urself !
Thank you so much Timo, and we will look forward to “Memoriez” and “Grimms Kinder”!
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Memoriez FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MemorieZ/489620314427732
Also check out King Hannibal (a side project of Timo’s): https://www.facebook.com/king.hannibal.9